Thursday, 10 September 2015

A Geopolitical View of the World on the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations

World leaders gathered on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. © Google

After the scourge of the World War II, in 1945, a new global organisation for international cooperation and diplomacy was created. The United Nations were negotiated and established amongst the delegations from the Soviet Union, the UK, the US and China, and settled in the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. 

In 1946, Churchill’s speech in Zurich touched Europe with its sense of hope and solidarity for a prosperous future. Europe was to reborn from the ashes of war. The transition was difficult, with the big winners from the war, US and URSS, turning out enemies and dividing the world in two blocs. Boosted by the Marshall Plan, Western Europe and Japan were rebuilt while Eastern Europe was trapped into Soviet influence. 

The Cold War was then installed, marked by a nuclear arms race and a climate of tension. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Soviet Communism, Europe seemed to be in the right path towards social evolution. Seventy years after its beginning, the United Nations General Assembly still represents the major geopolitical scene throughout the world, convening leaders from 193 Nations, discussing topics such as climate change, public health, foreign policy amongst many others. In the highest point of the political scene, leaders have the opportunity to openly address each other, and citizens can put the jigsaw pieces together and reach their own conclusions on what is really going on in the world.


Russian president Vladimir Putin. © Google

This year, the spotlight was focused on Putin. For the first time in a decade, the President of the Russian Federation has addressed the UNGA, the forum for decision-making where all 193 Member States each have a single vote, in a rather critical time. The annexation of Crimea hasn’t been forgotten and his recent bold move -  stating Russia as the first Nation intervening for Damascus - made him the man of the day. By doing so, the Russian President has set up an air base in Latakia and secured the naval base in Tartus. Briefly, Putin declared Russia was organising an anti-terrorism coalition to defeat ISIL and affirmed the necessity of strengthen Syrian state’s structure. Putin has confirmed to the world his support towards his old friend Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, he added that ISIL grew in strength after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and is now aggressively spreading to other territories. He said Moscow has consistently fought against terrorism in all its forms, and is supporting the Syrian government with military equipment. “We should acknowledge that no-one except for Assad and his militia is truly fighting ISIL in Syria,” said Putin. 

According to Julia Ioffe from Foreign Policy, Putin’s move is connected to the authoritarian image he maintains in Russia, and since Russia is supporting Syria since the beginning, he believes it is time to intervene whilst the Islamic State is gradually taking Syrian territory. “Bashar al-Assad is losing; he’s losing one town after another,” said Georgy Mirsky, a vintage Russian Arabist who teaches Middle Eastern conflicts at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. 

An opposing opinion has Ely Karmon, who wrote in Haaretz Putin’s intervention in Syria aims to establish a solid base in the Middle East as well as building up a mini Alawite state for Assad. Karmon claims Israel interests will be at risk with the Russian alliance with the neighbors Iran and Iraq.

As for Ukraine, Putin claims the civil war and consequent dramatic events were the result of a “military coup” from outside – a metaphor for the US and the CIA. He hasn’t made any comments on the annexation of Crimea. Interviewed by CBS’s Charlie Rose during the ’60 Minutes’ program, Putin declared, “We have no obsession that Russia must be a superpower. The only thing we do is protecting our vital interests.” “Nuclear weapons and other weapons are the means to protect our sovereignty and legitimate interests, not the means to behave aggressively or to fulfill some non-existent imperial ambitions,” he added.

In his statement to the United Nations, Putin said after the cold war “a single center of domination emerged in the world” – the US - and it has not been complying with the UN basic principles, probably recalling the led-American intervention in Iraq, bypassing the Security Council. He said, however, Russia is willing to collaborate with its partners on the basis of consensus, but endeavors to enfeeble the UN are “extremely dangerous”. He criticised the dissemination of “so-called democratic revolutions” which have led to violence, poverty and social disaster – probably evoking the “Arab Spring” and the overthrown and consequent elimination of Saddam Hussein and Muhammad Gadhafi. Was Putin denouncing the New World Order?

According to RT, the US has accused Russia of overusing its veto power and risking the legitimacy the Security Council. However, noticeable American linguist Noam Chomsky told RT the US has been “the veto champion in the past, and has used its veto just as often. “In the last couples of years Russia has caught up to the United States. They are roughly equal in the number of vetoes they have cast. But that is quite a recent development,” told Chomskyto RT.

United States

Obama says the US is willing to work with any nation – including Russia and Iran – to solve the conflict. On Russia and Ukraine, the US president says the international community can’t stand still while Russia is invading Ukraine’s territory, undermining its integrity and sovereignty. He claims if there are no consequences for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, it could happen to any other country within the UN. On Syria, Obama insists the only way of ending the civil war implies the withdrawal of president Assad – which Putin vehemently refuses to cooperate with. As for international cooperation, Obama pointed out the UN remains incomplete after seven decades of its foundation. According to news analyst Lisa Haven, the president of the US wants more globalisation, reflected on his blessing of the TTIP, which Haven considers just evil to the core. When Obama says “capabilities must be given to strengthen the UN in order to accomplish global governance”, meaning the New World Order, according to Lisa, she raises the question on how big will the UN be in the future, claiming that globalisation and climate change dialogues are only equipping and building up the control of the UN.  Lisa accuses Obama of so vigorously applauding the increase of capabilities (infantries, helicopters, intelligence) to strengthen UN’s Peacekeepers whilst denouncing the President’s drive of disarming the masses in the US.

Iran and Israel

The Iranian president spent a considerable part of his speech focusing on the recent nuclear deal achieved in Vienna.  Rouhani criticised Israel, saying “the zionist regime” was the only hurdle towards securing the nuclear agreement. Later on, he criticised the US for extending a steady support for Tel Aviv and ignoring the condition of what he described as “oppressed Palestinians”.  With a defensive discourse, Netanyahu slammed support over the nuclear deal’s outcome, alleging that Iranian threats to destroy Israel have been met in the world body by “utter silence, deafening silence.” 

The nuclear agreement led Netanyahu to lose influence in Washington, reason why has recently urged the US administration to set forth talks. The Iran president said the US were pursuing “baseless accusations and pursuing other dangerous policies” in a strategic defence mechanism towards its regional allies, nurturing extremism, presumably referring to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Rouhani called on the world to form a “united front” to tackle extremism and violence and said the major threat facing the world is for the terrorist organisations to become a terrorist state, referring to the Islamic State. “We are prepared to assist in eradication of terrorism. We are prepared to help bring democracy to Syria and Yemen,” he said. Consequently, Lebanesesources reported hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a key ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes.


French president François Hollande focused more on climate change and the ongoing conflict in Syria that is resulting in the biggest humanitarian crisis since the II World War.  Denoting the coming CO21 which will take place in the French capital, Hollande said “in Paris, we are asking one question: is humanity capable of taking the decision to preserve life on the planet? If it’s not agreed in Paris, which is already late, it will be too late for the world.” On Syria, Hollande blames Assad for the catastrophic consequences of the war saying in the beginning of the conflict “there weren’t terrorists, no fundamentalists, there was just a dictator, a dictator who was massacring his people.” He reiterated France’s insistence that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has to be replaced by a “transitional government’. Sort of answering back to Putin’s words on Assad, Hollande reformulated the sentence by saying “I see people are using their efforts to include Bashar al-Assad. He is part of the problem, he cannot be part of the solution”.  From a European viewpoint, France urged Europe to help refugees and Syria’s neighbors – including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. He then vowed an additional €100 million aid to Syria’s neighbors. Before finalising his speech, Hollande called on a reform of the UN, an enlargement and reorganisation of the Security as well as a limit to the use of veto in cases of mass atrocities. “I promise you here, France will never use its veto when there are mass atrocities,” said the President of France.

Wikileaks Revelations with Geopolitical Implications

Recent Wikileaks revelations of US State Department leaks  reported plans to destabilize Syria and overthrow the Syrian government as early as 2006. Additional Wikileaks cables reveal CIA involvement on the ground in Syria to instigate these very demonstrations as early as March 2011. The leaks expose that these plans were given to the US straight from the Israeli government and would be shaped through instigating civil conflict and sectarianism through partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and even Egypt, to demolish the power structure in Syria in order to weaken Iran and Hezbollah. According to MintPressNews, “it became then evident that the US, UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would be jumping on to organise, arm and finance rebels from the Free Syrian Army as outlined in the State Department plans to destabilize Syria.” Later on, in 2012, the ironic “The Group of Friends of the Syrian People” was created by these meddling nations. Their agenda was to divide and conquer in order to inflict disorder across Syria in view of dethroning Syrian President Bashar Assad. “That plan was to use a number of different factors to create paranoia within the Syrian government; to push it to overreact, to make it fear there’s a coup,” said the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

But why? This partnership and meddlesome in Syria was followed by a discussion of an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, supposedly to be built between 2014-2016 from Iran’s South Pars field passing Iraq and Syria. But Qatar and Turkey proposed Assad to join an agreement that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, touching Iran’s South Pars field via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria into Turkey, with the aim to supply European markets, critically bypassing Russia.  Protecting the interests of his friend Putin, Assad rejected the proposal from Qatar and Turkey. The latter didn’t like it, as it acknowledged the strategic piece Syria represents geographically. In return, Turkey along its allies became the major engineer of the so-called Syria’s civil war.  To better understand the oil and gas pipelines conflicts across the Middle East, Dmitry Minin wrote in May 2013 for the Strategic Cultural Foundation:

“A battle is raging over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Having realized that the stalled Nabucco pipeline, and indeed the entire Southern Corridor, are backed up only by Azerbaijan’s reserves and can never equal Russian supplies to Europe or thwart the construction of the South Stream, the West is in a hurry to replace them with resources from the Persian Gulf. Syria ends up being a key link in this chain, and it leans in favor of Iran and Russia; thus it was decided in the Western capitals that its regime needs to change.”


Churchill’s speech in 1946 called on a federalist Europe and urged to the creation of the United Nations. “Our constant aim must be to build and fortify the United Nations Organisation. Under and within that world concept we must re-create the European family in a regional structure (…) The salvation of the common people of every race and every land from war and servitude must be established on solid foundations, and must be created by the readiness of all men and women to die rather than to submit to tyranny. “ The UN origins aimed at preventing future generations from the scourge of war and to endorse faith in the Human Rights, defending international justice and fostering social progress. 

Hostilities like the invasion of Vietnam, the genocide in Rwanda and the bloody civil war in Angola undermined the credibility in which the UN pillars were created. Nevertheless, during the way, some significant triumphs were accomplished, the eradication of some diseases of public concern, the rights of women and the assistance to children in need rose across the world. But the new century brought new wars, refugees and humanitarian crisis. Seventy years later, the UN has grown bigger and yet the suffering in the world remains out of scale – Darfur, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Georgia, Libya, Syria, to name but a few – they will be part of History, stamping the failure of action of the UN.

The United Nations, home for 193 Member States in the world, is the place to debate all the challenges the future may bring and to make a balance of what has been achieved throughout time. Commonly, the UN General Assembly is the “public” arena, where leaders have the opportunity to openly point fingers at each other.  Due to tense relations between the West and the East, the climax of the UN speeches was clearly Russia and the US. Russia assumed no imperialist ambitions, defending an arm race due to the logical reasons, meaning the recent increase in NATO’s military spending, as Polish president Andrezj Duda requested a permanent military presence in Poland. Former soviet states claim anticipated defence from possible Russian aggression as Russia claims investment in national security. But the recent arrival of Russian troops in Syrian soil is raising suspicions over Moscow’s ultimate intentions. Meanwhile, Iran is organising its ground armies in Syria, in preparation for an attack to rescue rebel occupied land under the cover of Russian air strikes. Lastly, to make the alliance even more powerful, suspicions that China might step in to support Assad are on the horizon

Unsurprisingly, Putin has omitted Russia undercover military take-over of Crimea and the shipment of weapons by Moscow to pro-Russian separatists fighting in the east of Ukraine.  The West appears to stick to a common position of complete rejection of Bashar al-Assad’s government. Both France and US repeatedly insist the only possible progress in Syria’s future implies Assad to withdraw from power. On this matter, Putin believes that only Assad has the legitimacy to decide on the future of his country and claims external interference is not the way of Russia’s conduct. Thus, the recent introduction of more actors in this ghastly equation – the announced military support from Iran and possibly China – is a complete game change for the Western partnership. This was one of the biggest outcomes of the UN’ s General Assembly – a joint statement from two superpowers demanding the withdrawal of Syria’s administration, which resulted in the official support of Assad’s government from two other Nations.

The UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, said to The Guardian, the big security powers must “look beyond their national interest” and stop blocking action in Syria. Ban Ki-Moon added that “we are living in an era of transformation, politically, economically and technologically” and the UN has to adapt to this development.

                                              UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. © makeroadssafe

The certainty of a monopolised media has been progressively accepted as public knowledge, but there is still much to do in order to break all the misinformation that so often taint our newspapers and TV screens. We need to be able to think for ourselves. Now, to be true what we know via leaked evidence – the Western instigation of the Syrian war -  we see ourselves confronted with a huge hash. So, the United States and France, the major supporters of the so-wanted Assad’s resignation, were instigating the revolution in Syria, then sending weapons to the opposition, that has degenerated in the Islamic State, to further on form a coalition to eliminate it? 

Some claim that geopolitics relations have always been like that, and we have the proof of our endless conflictual history since the period of Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, followed by the calamitous World Wars. I guess the big difference back then is that we didn’t have any Julian Assange or Edward Snowden to expose such detailed evidence hence enlarging our horizons. Therefore the big question is, what is the UN role after all? Seventy years after its creation, the United Nations counts with 193 Nations and a budget of $41 billion and hasn’t been capable of effectively reduce poverty, infectious diseases and war throughout the world. Are we pawns in a chess game?

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